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Commentary

Life’s defining moments continue

Editor’s note: This column was originally published in the spring of 2004. After I started typing an e-mail message to a friend, I glanced back at the subject and questioned my reasons for choosing “party weekend” as my subject. The phrase sounded so daring, exciting and wild. What ...

Why today brings us renewed hope

For many families divided over national politics, Thanksgiving 2016 will be a painful one. But perhaps there’s some comfort to be found in an American poet’s vision of a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday, a reminder of the timeless dream of the capacity for love, family, and friendship to ...

Adjusting to life’s aging changes

I wish to re-emphasize a matter of significance that needs our collective attention. Statisticians vary in their estimate of aged population numbers. Thankfully, with the advancement of science and medicine, folks are living well beyond past generations. Surviving well beyond the 60s and 70s ...

Celebrate your traditions

Most of the leaves are now off the trees and have found their place along the curbs, beneath porches and nestled against houses and fences where most will eventually be covered with snow.  Houses are being decorated with lights and soon we will see snowmen popping up in yards, but until then, ...

An unusual Thanksgiving tradition

Our family’s Thanksgiving tradition has nothing to do with food or football, but has everything to do with our personal beliefs, values and expectations. It’s an annual family discussion of issues related to Advance Care Planning, and it’s a tradition I encourage all families to adopt. ...

After vote, a new responsibility

“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; second, to liberty; third, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of … the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law ...

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Editor’s note: OBSERVER staff writer Amanda Dedie reached out to Dr. David Rankin, chair of the Department of Politics and International Affairs at the State University of New York at Fredonia, after the presidential elections for additional insight into how things fell into place. Here are ...

How to avoid ‘inactive’ tag

While voting is still fresh in everyone’s mind, we do want to take the opportunity to continue the discussion of “inactive” voters in Chautauqua County. A critic of the voting process sent an e-mail to the Dunkirk OBSERVER following last week’s election complaining that many inactive ...

When time stopped … and America mourned

Fifty-three years have passed. It was a clear, brisk day in November 1963. The eastern horizon was lit with silvery rays of sunlight on this bright Friday morning. As usual, teachers and students greeted each other at the Main Street School in East Aurora. I was the school principal at the ...

Destruction doesn’t help economy

With the destructive force that Hurricane Matthew has hurled at the southeastern states, crews will be working for many months to rebuild homes, businesses, and infrastructure that took the hit by wind and water. Thousands of people will be put to work, manufacturers will churn out building ...

Time flies but WWII memories remain

How time flies! I really enjoyed writing this column. So many of you want to know what it was like living in Little Italy and later what it was like going through the war — WWII. We didn’t live in Little Italy long. We kept moving up Eagle Street. I vaguely remember living next door to ...

Weathering the winter predictions

I have always been keenly interested in winter weather ever since I spent part of the Blizzard of ’77 marooned near Union and Walden in Cheektowaga. So I decided to investigate what sort of winter we can expect this year in Western New York.  Will it be like last year’s mild and dry ...

Thinking sagely of sage

There lived a sage in days of yore, And he a handsome pigtail wore; But wondered much and sorrowed more Because it hung behind him. — Thackeray It’s a cute piece of doggerel which, candidly, hasn’t a thing to do with this column. I have no idea where my first sage came from. It was ...

Election results are ‘complicated’

Post-election despair was inevitable given the widespread lack of enthusiasm for our choices. Broadcast media that gifted Donald Trump with limitless attention and abetted the DNC’s destruction of Bernie Sanders are concocting all sorts of explanations, including the pitiful theory that ...

Are drunk-driving laws too harsh?

Drunk driving occurs when someone drives a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a driver is over 21, it is illegal for him to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 (g/dl) or greater. Drunk driving kills people. In 2014, 31 percent of the U.S. traffic ...

America needs more positive thinking

Are you positive that you are not negative? I decided a while back that I would make a real effort to think more positively about things. I would try to concentrate more on what’s good about something or someone, rather than what’s bad. It seemed that the effort has made me more negative ...

Helping our struggling heroes

The veterans of America cannot and will not be forgotten, especially our Gold Star Mothers. For those who don’t know about the Gold Star Mothers, they lost their loved ones who they brought into this world and lost them in this world. No one really knows what they have endured, doing the ...

We know who he is

Don’t ask us to congratulate him. Not today. Not this week. Not ever, probably. He stands for so much of what we’d dared to hope was behind us as a country. Bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia. He spewed it with reckless abandon, and now he is going to be our next president. Of course we ...

Warm and fuzzy in speech, sports

Some items recently in the news ... other than the election: ¯ In their attempt to make the world just a super dooper kumbaya hugfest, the James Madison University eggheads (not on the list so it must be OK) has issued a speech guide of 35 “dumb expressions” that should be avoided. The ...

We’re in trouble

Over the past 30-plus years I’ve been involved in local government budgeting and have seen many financial ups and downs. The 2 percent property tax cap in New York state is actually less than 1 percent now and with the sales tax revenue dropping this year the impact on local government ...